A Neshannock Township mother and daughter died Thursday morning when a fire broke out at their Old Plank Road home.

Melanie Keller, 48, and her daughter, Jazmyn Keller, 12, both of 2939 Old Plank Road, were pronounced dead at the scene by Lawrence County Deputy Coroner Richard Johnson.

He offered no cause of death Thursday afternoon, saying autopsies have been completed but no further information would be provided until he talks with Neshannock Township police and the State Police fire marshal. Autopsies were performed at Heritage Valley Medical Center, Beaver.

Firemen were called to a structure fire with possible entrapment at 8:47 a.m.

Neshannock Township Volunteer Fire Department, the first on the scene, found the house engulfed in flames and thick smoke emanating from the structure. The department was assisted by volunteer departments from New Wilmington and Mahoning Township.

Neighbors reported hearing explosions during the fire.

According to Johnson, Neshannock Township was asked to provide a back hoe to extricate the victims from the rubble after the second floor of the structure collapsed onto the first floor.

The Neshannock Township police department has taken the lead in the investigation and is joined by the Pennsylvania state police fire marshall and the Lawrence County coroner’s office. An arson-detecting dog from Beaver Falls was also brought in to assist the investigation.

Medevac Ambulance was on the scene.

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Nancy Lowry is a former reporter at the New Castle News, retiring Dec. 31, 2019, after many years covering government, school boards and writing feature stories.

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